Today’s topic centres around one of the biggest mistakes I see new business owners make when they start a business: Customer Service.
Let’s kick this off with a question.
What do you picture in your mind when you think of handling Customer Service in your Subscription Box?
- Answering annoying emails
- Handling Order cancellations
- Solving shipping errors
- Refunding an order
What about marketing?
Do you ever think about how your customer service can be used as a marketing asset?
No? Well, it should.
In fact you can turn your customer service into an asset so powerful that it makes you more money and there is nothing your competitors can do to stop it.
But only when you do it right.
I’m not going to try and tell you how to suck eggs when it comes to customer service. Because honestly, it’s simple:
- Treat others how you would like to be treated.
- Don’t be petty. Your customers pay you money, your pride doesn’t
- Long term beats short term.
I’ve seen way too many instances in Sub-Box groups of posts like this:
Seriously, it’s not a pissing contest – just send a new box and let go. In fact, make a big deal about it, make them feel amazing that they have even taken the time to test out the box.
At the end of the day – 100% of that circumstance (like the coupon etc) are the result of YOU – the business owner not checking things before you sent the parcel out or making sure that you could afford to do such a promotion.
Think about how you would feel if you bought something online, it didn’t get delivered and the merchant just said “tough shit – you stuffed up the address its on you”.
I know what I would do, immediately file a chargeback just to mess with them.
Situations like that are a no-brainer. Just replace and move on.
My maths proves customer service saves you money
Still not convinced? Well let’s do a little bit of maths and see if evidence compels you to my point of view.
- Box Cost of $15
- Shipping costs: $5
- Total Expenses: $20
- Cost of replacing the box: $20
Total out of pocket expense for replacing + initial send: $40
Now let’s look at if you didn’t replace it and just said “tough shit” to the customer.
- Box Cost of $15
- Shipping costs: $5
- Total Expenses: $20
- Cost of Chargeback Fee from stripe: $30
Total costs of Box + Chargeback = $50
You actually save money (in that example) by just replacing the damn box.
So put you big boy/girl pants on and replace the box.
This doesn’t even take into account the negative reviews and lack of goodwill that you avoid by performing a simple gesture to make someone’s experience better.
Now that I have hopefully beaten the B.S out of you I’ll give you an example of how using customer service, replacing stock and generally just enjoying the interactions with your customers can make you more money.
The Amazon Example
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, recently said in an interview “Customer’s are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service. And I love that”
This statement speaks volumes about how Amazon has become the retail-crushing giant that is taking over the world.
Amazon prioritises one this: It’s customer’s satisfaction. And as a direct result, it’s customers are loyal.
How you can use your customer service to make your subscription box business more money.
How to use Customer Service as a Defensive tactic:
Having a strong customer service strategy within your subscription box is one of the best ways you can defend against competitors entering your market place.
Staying with the Amazon Example, if you are able to provide an amazing experience to your customers in every facet of your business you will breed customer loyalty that cannot be bought.
How can you do this?
- Make it REALLY easy sign up.
- Document all your customer’s questions, comments and praises. Include these as benefits, features on your selling points.
- Make it easy to cancel if your customer wants (please NEVER make it “email firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel).
- Have pleasant and respectful communication at all times
- SOLVE your customer’s problems – don’t be the problem.
These sound like simple things, but I’m horrified by the number of small businesses who get more caught up in their own struggles than fixing something that can make them more money in the long term.
- The cost of replacing / refunding an incorrectly delivered box.
- Worrying those customers will tell everyone you provide refunds or share coupon codes.
- Trying to provide that YOU are right and THEY are wrong.
Just take a step back, a nice deep breath and chill.
You are in this for the long term, we want to win the war, not just the battle.
How to use Customer Service as an offensive tactic:
Now that you have sorted out your customer service defensive tactics. Let’s ramp it up and start using that as our FOB (Forward Operations Base) to go steal your competitor’s subscribers.
I’m going to get off my high horse on this section and just give you some clear tactics on using your Customer Service for a marketing tactic.
Attack your enemy’s weak points
Find and document the negative reviews about your competitors. Look at their reviews, unboxing videos, social media comments etc.
Where are they lacking and what are the customers saying, what language do they use to describe the frustrations?
- Slow delivery time
- Packages looked like crap
- No value for money
- Doesn’t say where I can purchase items
Plan of attack:
Now, firstly make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. If you are, fix that stat.
Next, take all of those negative comments and make sure you cover off on them as benefits to your Subscription Box
- We ship your first box within 24 hours!
- You get an amazing experience from the moment the parcel is in your hands
- Minimum of $50 value in every single box!
- Special member only discounts for every product in the box!
Now go and kick your competitor where it hurts
How to crush your enemies completely for Bonus Points and glory:
Start a comparison page on your website.
For example “MyBox VS Competitors Box” and focus on how you do everything they do and MORE but better, with greater value for money and more style.
You can do a straight like for like comparison chart for all of the points.
Add your reviews to the page too for extra ammo.
Turn your reviews into weapons
One cool little trick I have found is using my reviews as a retargeting ad can work wonders.
If a customers has browsed your site in the last 7 days and not purchased you definitely want to be retargeting them with advertising.
I’ve found it really effective to help them make a decision by putting a little birdie in their ear – in the form of a testimonial or review.
There you have it!
Customer service is easily you most cost effective marketing channel that you can implement today.
So tell me.
How are YOU going to use this? Have some other ideas? Let me know in the comments